“Behold, you trust in deceptive words to no avail.” (Jeremiah 7:8)

People May Be Lured In, But If You Love Them, Eventually You Have To Tell Them The Truth

Last time in the Apprising Ministries article NYC Hillsong Hipster Pastor Carl Lentz Hedging On Homosexuality I began to introduce you to the up and coming cult of celebrity megapastor and “Apostle of Cool” Carl Lentz. Lentz is Senior and Lead pastor of Hillsong NYC (HCNYC), which is a launch from the Hillsong Church (HC), Australia mothership into the United States. ((Lentz himself elaborates upon how HCNYC is the advance of Houston’s Word Faith theology into America during his appearance on Katie with Katie Couric, which you can see right in this article itself.))

The fact is, Lentz is someone you need to become aware of because the man “[w]ith the Lord as his swagger coach,” ((, accessed 6/6/14.)) and touted by some at Charisma magazine as “this generation’s Billy Graham,” ((, accessed 6/6/14.)) appears to be a star on the rise a la the way former Emerging Church rock star pastor Rob Bell once was. ((David Van Biema/Grandville reminds us in his 2007 Time magazine piece that the Chicago Sun-Times called Rob Bell an heir to Billy Graham:,9171,1692051,00.html, accessed 6.6.14.)) Why, even the SBC’s Priscilla Shirer is on record enthusiastically declaring of Lentz, “He is going to be huge.” ((Details reporter Howie Kahn tells us in his eyewitness account this was predicted by “today’s guest speaker, Priscilla Shirer, a 38-year-old minister. A rising star in her own right, Shirer was flown in from Dallas to lighten Lentz’s load.”:, accessed 6/6/14.))

I’ve also brought you the bigger picture concerning HC over-all in Homosexuality Removed from Hillsong International Leadership College  (HILC) Student Handbook. Therein I showed you that HC mothership commander Brian Houston appears to be showing an influence from aggressive LGBT activist, Anthony Venn-Brown. This would appear evident e.g. from Venn-Brown’s post Hillsong: Pastor Brian Houston talks about the pink elephant in the room.

That’s why at the online apologetics and discernment ministry Hillsong Church Watch recently we’d find an ongoing series entitled Hillsong grooming its members to embrace Queerstianity, which begins:

One of the reasons why we are monitoring the Hillsong Church is because of it’s ecumenical bullying. Hillsong has been pushing on Christianity various beliefs that oppose essential truths of the Christian faith. If you oppose their ecumenical love you are accused of being “critical” or “religious”.

The point of this series of articles is not to make this about what people think is the “Gay Issue”. The issue we are about to address is more important.

The problem is the “Christian Issue” and the Christian issue is this: we have Brian Houston of Hillsong Church operating as a spiritual fraud, claiming to represent the Christian faith in Australia and supposedly speak[ing] on behalf of God. (source)

As I see it, rather than deal openly with the deviant lifestyle of having sexual relations with another of the same sex, i.e homosexualitythere does appear to be a real ecumenical bent lately in the HC camp where critics like myself are merely dismissed as unloving religious folk. Take for example, the other night on Anderson Cooper 360 Poppy Harlow said to Carl Lentz, “You take issue when people call[ing what you’re involved with at HCNYC] religion.”

Lentz replied in agreement:

You can be religious about being a car thief, you can be a religious, you know, criminal but we have a relationship with God. (source)

More postmodern obfuscation (being obscure, clouding the meaning of words). Ok, pastor Carl, but one only gets to have a relationship with God through the Gospel of repentance and forgiveness in Jesus Name. And I find it a bit odd that Lentz would disparage religion when the Facebook page for his HCNYC literally says that it’s a Religious Organization:


Be that as it may, as part of her Keeping the Faith ((, accessed 6/6/14.)) series in December of last year Carl Lentz appeared on Katie with Katie Couric and “made it clear he will not take a public stance on the controversial issue [of homosexuality].” ((, accessed 6/6/14.)) Below you’ll see Lentz with his usual obfuscation concerning homosexuality. To her credit, Katie Couric did try to get Lentz to more clearly articulate his position; but her attempt to cut through the postmodern fog in which he likes to hide would prove unsuccessful.

Couric asked Lentz, “Do you guys have positions on, say, gay marriage, and things like that?” As you’ll see following, his response shows us the evil impact of leaders in the Emerging Church within mainstream evangelicalism like the aforementioned Rob Bell and his friend Doug Pagitt. ((In my 2008 article Emerging Church pastor Doug Pagitt I showed the critical role Pagitt played in what would become the Emerging Church aka the Emergent Church.)) The reason being, Lentz sounds just like those Emergents in “the conversation” circa 1997. Lentz tells Couric, “We have a stance on love; in everything else, we have a conversations.”

Perplexed, Couric asks him, “So, what does that mean?” But all Lentz offered was, “Exactly that.” Sadly, we just more obfuscation on the part of HCNYC pastor Carl Lentz:

From what I’ve seen, Carl Lentz appears to run down the same track in each interview when asked about homosexuality. So for our purposes here, I want to focus in on Lentz’ appearance on HuffPost Live (HPL) with host Ahmed Shihab-Eldin later that same day (December 19); because he dealt with quite similar questions concerning homosexuality. Before I show you the clip from the interview with HCNYC hipster pastor Carl Lenz that was conducted by Shihab-Eldin, one of the founding hosts of HPL, ((, accessed 6/6/14.)) let me walk you through a couple of things I want to highlight before you view it. My hope is that it’ll help you cut through the postmodern fog.

As you’ll see, the clip begins with Lentz reading the last part of 1 Thessalonians 5:14 in the corrupt Message paraphrase ((This will give you a good working knowledge as to why this paraphrase should be avoided:, accessed 6/6/14.)) and attempting a little standup comedy routine using God’s Word a la every other cult of celebrity pastor—whether evangelical or emerging. Then he focuses in on the phrase, “[be] attentive to individual needs” as his launch point for personal commentary. Lentz opines:

That’s interesting. Isn’t that cool? That’s why some churches want us to give blanket answers on huge issues. Well, my Bible says, “[Be] attentive to individual needs.” that’s why I’m not going to make polarizing, political, statements about certain things in our Christian community right now. No matter who says, what, we won’t be pressured not giving blanket statements to “individual needs.” Never. ((HPL clip :13-32))

Let’s leave aside that the Greek text of 1 Thessalonians 5:14 doesn’t actually say anything about individual needs. I say, sure, the kind of rhetoric employed above by Lentz plays very well to the world. However, it isn’t that some churches want blanket statements concerning the issue of homosexuality, it’s God Himself Who has already stated that same-sex sexual relations is sin. ((cf. Leviticus 18:22; 1 Corinthians 6:9; 1 Timothy 1:8-10)) Now, we need to ask a couple of questions here: Is Carl Lentz trying to say that some “individual needs” of homosexuals would make their sexual relations not sinful? And, if that isn’t the case, then why can’t Lentz just come out and plainly state that same-sex sexual relations is sin?

You’ll see that Shihab-Eldin then asks Lentz “are people of all sexual orientations welcome” at HCNYC? But this only serves to further divert us away from the key issue. It’s not that people who are caught up in sin are not welcome to come to a church service; the issue is: Can such a one—unrepentant in their sin—be a member in good standing at HCNYC and fully participate as a Christian considered in right relationship with Jesus? Unless the question is framed in a way like this, it allows people like Carl Lentz to give the impression that they may actually be fully homosexual-affirming.

And this gets us to the heart of the matter here with people-pleasing “conversationalists” like Carl Lentz or his predecessors more aligned with the Emerging Church such as homosexual-affirming “pastor” Jay Bakker. They cloud the issues with their practice of obfuscation and then refuse to address an issue like homosexuality head on. The more I watch Carl Lentz, the more it begins to appear to me to amount to a bait and switch; unless, he is actually gay-affirmig and just hasn’t formally announced it yet. A la a politician, by carefully using his words publicly—that don’t really mean anything—as to what his position re. same-sex sexual relationships might be, Lentz does leave one with the impression that he may approve of homosexual relationships.

So, in essence, he appears to be employing this technique as the bait with which to draw LGBT people who are under this impression into HCNYC. In other words, they would attend HCNYC because they believe they’d be accepted as Christians even though they are practicing homosexuals. However, this actually leaves Carl Lentz between the Rock and a hard place as he tries to be all things to all people, so to speak. For you see, Christ Jesus, our Creator, deems same-sex sexual relations as sexual immorality because, at the very least, it’s sexual relations outside His marriage covenant. ((I show you this from Scripture itself in Jesus Already Defined Marriage For His Creation.)) So, if Lentz is affirming of homosexual relationships, then he’s going to be at odds with the Person Who would have sent him forth as a minister of His Gospel.

But on the other hand, if Lentz actually isn’t affirming of homosexuality and considers it sin, then he has yet another problem. That’s because, at some point, he is going to have to take the bait away from these LGBT people and then present to them the switch that now they will have to repent of their sin. In the long run, Carl Lentz really isn’t going to win either way. Such is the problem for vision-casting prophet-pastors who, like Lentz, are trying to appeal to pouty postmoderns. Since the “in” thing for them is tolerancethen to grow his little kingdom in downtown ManhattanLentz has to, at least, give the outward impression that he is tolerant and affirming of same-sex sexual relations. Such is the dilemma faced by Carl Lentz and his Seeker Driven HCNYC.

So keep this in mind now as we move forward; being vague is 1) not living up to the role of a pastor in Jesus’ eyes, and 2) this all will eventually leaves Lentz in a no-win situation. That fact is, the time will come when he’s either going to have to come out publicly, and openly, as affirming of same-sex sexual relations. Or, Carl Lentz is going to finally act in accordance of what God has commanded His pastors to do, and tell the truth to members of his HCNYC, as well as to the LGBT community whom he has misled. Now we’re ready to come back to the video clip and Ahmed Shihab-Eldin’s opening question “are people of all sexual orientations welcome” at HCNYC.

Lentz begins his spiritual tap dance by telling him:

What I was referring to there [the last part of 1 Thessalonians 5:14 quoted above] was, you know, some people be like, “you need to make be—you—you need to answer our questions about the homosexuality issue.” And I say, “I do. You just don’t like my answers.” And here’s exactly what I mean by that. Some media wants us to use our pulpit to, ah, have a soapbox for social issues. I don’t believe that’s our job.” ((HPL clip :51-1:22))

Frankly, I haven’t heard Lentz give any answers to “questions about the homosexuality issue” to not like in the first place. Ah, but I digress. Let me point out that in the prior interview with Katie Couric, Carl Lentz had said something quite similar, which is the main concern here because he stated:

Often people want you make these big statements about things and I don’t believe it’s fair. I don’t think a public forum is always the best place to talk about something that’s so, sensitive, and important to so many; because a public forum—there’s no discussion there—and everybody’s situation is unique. So, I’ve been with some people who’d be like, “Make a statement about this.” And I’ll say, “Why?” I’d rather have a conversation,… ((Katie clip 4:44-5:07))

Well, I’ll tell you why pastor Carl, because as a pastor it happens to be your job to “make a statement” by telling people what God has said. 2 Timothy 4:2  preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. Notice here that we’re not told the pastor is supposed to have a conversation about what God has said. Quite the opposite, he is to proclaim the Word of the Lord in the Bible. Yet instead, pastor Carl chooses to wallow in postmodern mud just like some cheap imitation of Rob Bell.

If We Do Love LGBT People For Whom Christ Died Then We Will Tell Them The Truth

Lentz goes on to share a fable through pious-sounding talk about the way Jesus supposedly did ministry:

You go look at what Jesus did. He was always talkin’ about the heart of an individual, and the soul of a person; not these symptomatic, societal, problems. And people hate that; because a lot of churches are about what they’re against. We’re about what we’re for.

And when it comes to people’s sexuality, I don’t wantna use a public forum, to talk about private things. Because how in the world could you have a dialogue? How in the world can I hear your story? How in the world can someone have a question?

So, if I—if I stand up in a pulpit, and I just start railing at somethin’—or, make a statement in a—in a newspaper about somethin’, I—I believe it’s insensitive to the journey that people are walkin’ on, and our church is gon’ protect people. No matter where you’re from; no matter what you carry; no matter, um, what kind of orientation you feel like is your, um, you know, lane of life to run in—um, you know, I wanna have a conversation about it.

We have a stance on love, and we have conversations about everything else.” ((HPL clip 1:14-2:06))

Now, we’re really not surprised at all to HPL host Ahmed Shihab-Eldin say immediately, “Why—I mean—I love that.” For, it is written — They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them (1 John 4:5) . If you’re a regular reader of Apprising Ministries, you’ll have heard this same lame rhetoric over this past nine years coming from the likes of the unholy Emergent Church trinity of apostates, Living Spiritual Teacher and EC guru Brian McLaren, universalist EC pastor Doug Pagitt, and his friend Dr. Tony Jones, the progressive “theologian in residence” at Solomon’s Porch headed by Pagitt, whom I had mentioned earlier. 

You can thank your evangelical publishing houses for infecting this next generation of evangelical cult of celebrity pastors with this emerging kind of centered of the self spirituality. Yes, no doubt this blather plays very well to the postmodern world today; but the fact is, it’s just not true. One need only to look e.g. at Mark 7:1-23 to see what Jesus addressed publicly concerning false religious leaders and about the corrupt heart of mankind. It’s beyond question that the Biblical record shows us that our Lord often used very public forums to talk about things people wish could have been kept private. ((Ken Ham does a nice job in debunking the old emerging argument that Jesus didn’t address morality or social issues:, accessed 6/6/14.))

To try and claim that Jesus didn’t publicly address sexual issues is just plain foolish on the part of Carl Lentz. Consider the following from Christ Jesus during his Sermon on the Mount:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:27-28)

And there certainly wasn’t any having a conversation with Christ Jesus, the LORD God Almighty in human flesh, when He made such proclamations. Shihab-Eldin next turns conversation with Carl Lentz to the subject homosexuality once again:

 Shihab-Eldin: Why—I mean—I love that. And that makes sense to me, because when you say you have a stance on love, and you’re talking about hearts and souls (pause) I often see, you know, people wanna focus on homosexuality and the gay marriage issue—

Lentz: Yeah.

Shihab-Eldin: And whether they should be allowed to get married; and a lot of homosexual couples are looking around saying “I just love this person with all my heart—

Lentz: Yeah.

Shihab-Eldin: And soul, so, I’m looking for some support.

Lentz: Yeah.

Shihab-Eldin: Do you feel like it’s—you’re—you’re not in a position to give them support on that issue; or do you feel like it’s just not your lane?

Lentz: It’s, ah, I dotn’t—it’s not my job to be people’s judge and jury.

Shihab-Eldin: Yeah.

Lentz: If I sat down with a homosexual couple and they ask me what I thought about their relationship, I would tell them, and it would be at their table, and it would be our business. But, their situation’s different than the next situation. ((Ibid. 2:07-2:50))

No, it’s not our job to judge people’s motives; but as I pointed out previously in NYC Hillsong Hipster Pastor Carl Lentz Hedging On Homosexuality, we are to share with people what God has said because it’s His Word which judges the thoughts and intentions of the heart (cf. Hebrews 4:12). Lentz’ last statement sounds so respectful, but in actuality, it really makes no sense. On the one hand Lentz says he’d tell this hypothetical homosexual couple what he thought of their relationship if asked. Fair enough, but what does Lentz mean by “their situation’s different than the next situation?” Is he talking about other types of sinful conduct in general?

If so, that wasn’t the subject of the question Lentz was asked, which has to do with homosexual couples. Or, is he trying to give us the impression that apparently each homosexual relationship is different? Which would then beg the questions: How so? Could one same-sex couple be in sin while another homosexual couple may not be? Here’s what someone in the media needs to ask Carl Lentz to answer plainly, and publicly, on the record: Are you personally gay-affirming? As far as you personally are concerned, are homosexual relations always to be considered as sinful? Let’s just say, I’m not holding my breath.

Lentz continues now with his seeking the approval of the world:

And often people get these two words mixed up: acceptance and approval. Like, I don’t necessarily—if someone comes to my church, I don’t have to approve of every single thing in their life, because that’s not my job. I’m not God. My job is to accept you, as I have been accepted—with everything in my life, God accepted me. So acceptance and approval, we draw a really cool line in there, cuz it’s like, look, I’m not gonna tell you—there’s a lot of people who will come into our church, leave, and go, ‘No thanks. I don’t wanna change my—I don’t wanna live—I don’t wanna believe that.’

And I say, ‘Good for you, that’s your job. You have to answer to God for your life, not me.’ So why is this on me? Some people are always like,”What do you think about homosexuality?” I’m like, “I love my wife. I’m married; you’re asking the wrong guy.” Um, but, that’s just to be funny. But I—I do believe it’s such a—a sensitive issue. I have gay friends. I have, ah, people that I love that are right in the thick of that kind of debate. And I just refuse to, ah, ostracize people any longer, I hate it. I think that there’s been so much hate, and so much bigotry and so much insensitivity, that, um, I’m done with that.

And so, the people who criticize us for it; I li—I like making those people mad. Cuz I—they—they are who they are. ((Ibid. 2:51-3:55))

What’s missing with this topic of a person’s acceptance by God is the repentance and forgiveness of sins in Jesus; the Gospel. Here’s another curious thing; Lentz says, “I’m not gonna tell you—,” as if he was almost going to say, “I’m not going to tell you what to believe.” And yet, he goes on to tell us that “there’s a lot of people who will come into our church, leave, and go, ‘No thanks. I don’t wanna change my—I don’t wanna live—I don’t wanna believe that.'” Well, pastor Carl, where did these people get the idea about changing, or living a certain way, or not wanting to believe certain things? Would it have been from your own preaching at HCNYC?

Remember now, just the other day on Anderson Cooper 360 Poppy Harlow did tell us that:

Some of [Carl Lentz’] positions are clearer than others. Don’t get drunk, no sex before marriage. (source)

Alright, then why doesn’t Lentz make his position concerning homosexuality just as clear? I’ll tell you. He can’t risk offending anyone; and if Lentz does make it clear where he stands on the highly volatile issue of same-sex sexual relations he is sure to offend many. So, we resort to obfuscation, red herrings, and rabbit trails to throw people off. As the clip to follow closes, after Carl Lentz’ little people-pleasing polemic cited above, Ahmed Shihab-Eldin sings the postmodern mantra of today, All You Need Is Love, ((, accessed 6/6/14.)) which oddly enough was penned back in 1967:

Shihab-Eldin: And I think if we focus on love, it’ll all fix itself out. If all people just focus on love. I—at least that’s my personal belief. Um, I do wanna—

Lentz: Just so you know, before you go—before you—eh, Jesus said to do two things. He said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind.” And then He said, number two, “Love your neighbor.” ((Ibid. 2:51-4:12))

As nice as it may sound to say that as long as we focus on love things will all work out, it’s actually a meaningless statement. Whose love; and love of what? Pastor Carl Lentz is correct here; Jesus does tell us that the greatest, i.e. the most important, commandment is — “‘you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength’” (Mark 12:30). However, the only One Who could ever do this is Jesus of Nazareth Himself. And Jesus also added that — “The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:31).

That teaching is also consistent with what’s known as the Golden Rule as Christ Jesus teaches us  “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 7:12). So, pastor Carl, let me ask you: Is not being clear publicly on what the Bible says concerning homosexuality loving your neighbor and treating them as yourself? No, it isn’t. Withholding the truth from precious LGBT souls, for whom Christ died, is what I call homopression; ((As I explained in Homopression is at Least as bad as Homophobiathe homoppression I refer to here is not telling the truth to someone, claiming to be Christian, who self-identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered (LGBT) and thereby leaving them under oppression in their sin.)) which is the opposite of homophobia. It is to leave them locked in the prison cell of their sin and not letting them know that Jesus holds the key to unlock their freedom.

No, it’s not unloving to tell someone the truth; you can get in a lot of trouble for doing it, but it’s not unloving. In fact, the true haters in this forum are the ones who refuse to tell the truth to the LGBT community; same-sex sexual relations is a sin of sexual immorality because, as I said earlier, it will always be outside of the marriage covenant instituted by our Creator God, Christ Jesus of Nazareth. These are some of the things you need to keep in mind as you now take a look at the smoke and mirrors show of Carl Lentz as he dodges the rather softball questions of Ahmed Shihab-Eldin below on his HuffPost Live appearance:

As I close this out, for now, let me say that, just as pastor Carl Lentz has, I also have gay friends. One of whom was actually my boss when I worked quite closely with him in a group home for people who were “developmentally other enabled.” And believe me, he was very out about his sexuality. In fact, we’d often all be joking about it together at the house, with him leading the way. He and I got along great; and he understood that I cared about him as a friend, even though as a Christian I believed his lifestyle was one of sin. As a matter of fact, after I’d left briefly for another position, he even fought to get me back.

After I came back, we were in a car together on the way to accomplish a task; and as he drove along he was complaining to me about another person on the house team that professed to be a Christian, but was always causing grief to everyone around. He finally made a negative comment about “Christians like that person,” and I stopped him and said, “You do know I’m a Christian, right?” The Lord be praised, he said to me with quiet respect, “Yes, but you act like one.” So you see, strictly on a personal level, one’s sexual orientation doesn’t matter to me at all. However, as a Christian, I must never forget that I represent the Lord Jesus Christ

That understood, the problem for people like Bell and Pagitt and Bakker,and maybe even Carl Lentz, is they just don’t really believe what Jesus actually said. My point was pretty clear years ago when I asked the question: But Do Emergence Christianity And Brian McLaren Really Love Gay People? When all their verbose rhetoric fades, the answer is a resounding no, they don’t. If they did, then they’d tell the LGBT community the truth. Rodney King aside, no one ever said we will all get along. In fact, Jesus said He came along and insured that we won’t always:

 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household.”

“Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 10:34-39)

Well, pastor Carl, today is your day of reckoning:

 “Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 15 And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:14-15)

I leave you now with the following critique of HCNYC pastor Carl Lentz from Christian apologist Chris Rosebrough of Fighting For The Faith, which deals with the huge problem of these cult of celebrity vision-casting prophet pastors presenting a worldy image at the expense of the substance of the Gospel. I think you’ll see that Rosebrough makes a very strong case that Lentz does not meet the qualification to even be a pastor in the first place:

Further reading